Mount Sinai Continues to Lead Research on Food Allergy with Renewed NIH Grant of $29.9 Million.

Hugh Sampson, MD, Director of Mount Sinai’s Jaffe Food Allergy Institute, will continue as lead investigator of the multicenter research effort.

 – August 12, 2010 /Press Release/  –– 

Mount Sinai School of Medicine today announced that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has renewed its funding of the Consortium of Food Allergy Research (CoFAR), providing an additional $29.9 million toward genetic research and the prevention and treatment of food allergy. Mount Sinai is the primary research site for CoFAR, leading seven other institutions around the country.

Under the renewed grant, Mount Sinai researchers will continue several clinical trials evaluating immunotherapies for peanut and egg allergy. In two of the studies, researchers are determining whether an extract of peanut protein under the tongue or ingesting increasing amounts of egg protein improves tolerance. In another trial, researchers administer gradually increased doses of peanut protein to patients in a suppository to treat the allergy. The Mount Sinai team will also initiate a new trial studying the use of a peanut protein patch applied to the skin to treat peanut allergy. CoFAR is also conducting an observational study that has enrolled more than 500 infants to determine what factors worsen or improve their allergies.

"We are excited about the progress we have made in understanding food allergy in children over the last five years," said Hugh Sampson, MD, Professor, Pediatrics, Chief, Division of Allergy & Immunology, Director of the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute, Mount Sinai School of Medicine and lead investigator on CoFAR. "With the renewal of this grant, we will expand our research and hopefully move closer toward ending the widespread impact of food allergy."

The grant will also fund new genetic research on eosinophilic gastrointestinal diseases (EGIDs), a new group of allergic diseases. According to the NIH, the most common EGID is eosinophilic esophagitis. The main symptoms in children include nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain after eating. Three new CoFAR trial sites at Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center Hospital, University of Colorado at Denver, and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia will conduct the research.

Dr. Sampson will remain principal investigator of the five original CoFAR sites: The Mount Sinai Medical Center, Duke University Medical Center, Johns Hopkins University, National Jewish Health in Denver, and University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. CoFAR is currently enrolling patients for the trials evaluating treatment with peanut protein administered orally and through the skin patch.

Funding for CoFAR is provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, components of NIH.

About The Mount Sinai Medical Center

The Mount Sinai Medical Center encompasses both The Mount Sinai Hospital and Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Established in 1968, Mount Sinai School of Medicine is one of few medical schools embedded in a hospital in the United States. It has more than 3,400 faculty in 32 departments and 15 institutes, and ranks among the top 20 medical schools both in National Institute of Health funding and by U.S. News & World Report. The school received the 2009 Spencer Foreman Award for Outstanding Community Service from the Association of American Medical Colleges.

The Mount Sinai Hospital, founded in 1852, is a 1,171-bed tertiary- and quaternary-care teaching facility and one of the nation’s oldest, largest and most-respected voluntary hospitals. In 2009, U.S. News & World Report ranked The Mount Sinai Hospital among the nation’s top 20 hospitals based on reputation, patient safety, and other patient-care factors. Nearly 60,000 people were treated at Mount Sinai as inpatients last year, and approximately 530,000 outpatient visits took place.

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